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Potem Falls

Lake, River, or Waterfall
Potem Falls – Ben Miles

ADA Accessibility Notes

The trail to Potem Falls is not ADA accessible, but Fenders Ferry Road offers glimpses of the falls.

A beautiful waterfall with a vertical drop of over 60 feet, Potem Falls is located in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest just a few miles from Highway 299. A short hike leads from the road to the falls and takes visitors into a beautiful gorge with a large pool at the base of the falls.

Just before it empties into the waters of Shasta Lake at the uppermost end of the Pit River Arm, Potem Creek makes a final plunge of over sixty feet in this tucked away corner of Shasta County. The gorge carved by the forces of Potem Falls offers deep shade and a cool refuge for plants and people alike.

The trail to Potem Falls leaves the road and descends sharply into the gorge in the direction of the falls. A couple of long switchbacks take you to bottom of the trail and the edge of the pool. The trail is narrow in a few places so be cautious and wear good shoes, as it is a steep hillside.

To get there, take Fenders Ferry Road north from Highway 299 near Montgomery Creek in Shasta County. Fenders Ferry Road turns to dirt about 3 miles after you leave the highway. The total driving distance to the trail to Potem Falls is about ten miles. About nine miles from 299, you cross over the lake on the Fenders Ferry Bridge (look right to see the PG&E dam on the Pit River). The trail to Potem Falls is ahead on the left side of the road, at a wide place on a curve. At last visit, there was no sign, but there is a signpost where a sign was once posted. Go on past it to reach an intersection with FS Road 35N46, where there is a good place to turn around. Go back and it will be easy to find a few hundred yards up on your right.

Pet Friendly Notes

Pets are permitted on Shasta-Trinity National Forest property.

Recreational Opportunities

The hike from the road to the base of the falls is only about a half mile, but descends steeply into the gorge. The hike up is strenuous, but short. Swimming in the large pool at the base of the falls makes for a beautiful dip and quick cool down, as the water is usually cold.

The area around Shasta Lake gets a lot of use within the Shasta Trinity National Forest. Potem Falls sees only a fraction of the use, and thus, the area is not a high priority for the Forest Service. When visiting this lesser-known spot, it is important to travel lightly. Please do not cut switchbacks, and take out a little more trash than you bring in.


Seasons Accessible

Year round, though winter can make the road dangerous.

Nearby Places